Earl's Escape WWII

MISSING OVERSEAS Sgt. Earl G. Price son of John H. Price, Canterbury, who has been reported missing after air operations overseas. Sgt. Price enlisted in the R.C.A.F. in February, 1941 and received his air gunner badge at Jarvis, Ont./ and proceeded overseas in December 1941. He was educated at Canterbury Superior School.


Montreal, Quebec March 15 1943
The Secretary,
Department of National Defense for Air,
Lisgar Building,
Ottawa, Ontario

R.84592 F/Sgt. Price, E.G.
Interview re Pilot Officer Phillips

The above mentioned N.C.O. was interviewed at No. 3 I.T.S., Victoriaville, and the following is his statement:

" I baled out at approximately 13,000 feet., a few minutes after the starboard engine caught fire. The aircraft was, at the time, in a gentle dive. This dive was maintained until approximately 4,000 or 5,000 feet when the starboard wing broke off.
The escape hatches were all open and the pilot, Pilot Officer Phillipps, was not wounded to the best of my knowledge. It is possible that enemy fighter made a second attack after I baled out, but this is not considered probable as I would have heard the action.
In my opinion there is every possibility of Pilot Officer Phillipps being alive, as he was considered, cool, collected and resourceful. I believe the possibility of his escape good. To support this contention the following information is submitted.
The Mid Upper Gunner, who occupies a very difficult position so far as breaking-away is concerned, (and in this case who complicated matters for himself by panicing) managed to bale out and is now a prisoner-of-war. The pilot's position is also much nearer to the escape hatch than the M.U.G.
I consider that the aircraft was manageable and the pilot's seat should have been considered safe from fire at least two or three minutes, and would have given ample time for the pilot to bale out.
In conclusion, Pilot Officer Phillipps was exceptionally cool and I firmly believe that he is alive today"
Signed G.E. Nash
Group Capatin
? (unreadable) for Air Officer Commanding,
No. 3 Training Command, Montreal"

PRICE, Flight Sergeant Earl George (R84592) - Distinguished Flying Medal - No.158 Squadron - Award effective 21 January 1943 as per London Gazette dated 5 February 1943 and AFRO 757/43 dated 30 April 1943. Born 7 September 1921. Home in Canterbury, New Brunswick; enlisted Moncton 7 January 1941. Trained at No.1 WS (graduated 12 October 1941) and No.1 BGS (graduated 8 November 1941). Posted overseas December 1941; reported missing, 5 August 1942; reported safe (evader), 7 November 1942; repatriated 9 December 1942. Subsequently retrained as a pilot (15 October 1943, commissioned as J37115) but remained in Canada; released 23 January 1945. No citation - "member of aircraft crew...displayed Ian Tavender records, in The Distinguished Flying Medal Register for the Second World War (London, Savanah Publications, 2000) the following recommendation as found in Public Record Office Air 2/4937; it noted that Price had flown five sorties (24 hours 24 minutes).

"DFM"

Sergeant Price was Air Bomber in an aircraft which took off from Eastmoor at 2230 hours on 5th August 1942 to bomb Bochum. After completing the operation, the crew were forced to bale out. Sergeant Price landed in a field by a small road feeling slightly shocked but otherwise unhurt. By a display of great courage and determination, he evaded capture and eventually arrived safely in this country. I recommend the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal. Great gallantry and determination in attacks against targets in enemy occupied territory."


East Moor base "EAST MOOR"


EAST MOOR Seven miles due north from the centre of York in the parish of Sutton-on-the-Forest, this airfield was built to the east of the B1363 road to Helmsley, largely on the moor for which it was named. Built 1941-42, the concrete runways were main 17-35 at 1,610 yards, 04-22 at 1,540 yards and 08-26 at 1,300 yards. Before the airfield was completed runway 17-35 was extended to 1,900 yards at the 35 end and 08-26 to 1,430 yards on the end of 26. The encircling perimeter track led to 36 pan type hardstandings although none were situated on the western side where the technical site was built. A T2 hangar lay just north of runway head 04 and another on the opposite side of the airfield midway between runway heads 35 and 26. A B1 hangar was erected on the north side between runway heads 17 and 22. The camp was to the west consisting of fourteen dispersed sites for accommodating a maximum 2,094 males and 407 females.


First opened as a No. 4 Group station, No. 158 Squadron, in the process of converting to Halifaxes, moved in from Driffield in early June 1942. The squadron flew the first raid from East Moor on the night of June 25, also its first with the Halifax. In October No. 158 left East Moor for Rufforth as part of the plan to establish an all-Canadian bomber group in the area north of York. To this end, No. 429 Squadron, RCAF, was formed at East Moor early in November, although for the time being it was under No. 4 Group. Equipped with Wellingtons, it made its first raid on the night of January 26/27, 1943 and continued operations from East Moor until early August when it transferred to Leeming. The squadron lost 30 Wellingtons on operations while at East Moor. In May 1943, No. 1679 Heavy Conversion Unit was formed at East Moor to provide crew training on the radial-engined Lancaster II, which was to equip three of the Canadian squadrons. No. 1679 HCU departed in December that year for Wombleton.


No. 432 Squadron had arrived in September 1943 to convert to the Mk II Lancaster, flying its first raid with this version from East Moor on November 26/27. However, the supply of Lancaster IIs was limited and in February these were exchanged for similarly powered Halifax IIIs. In late July 1944, No. 415 Squadron was transferred from Coastal Command to No. 6 Group and bomber operations at East Moor. Equipped with Halifaxes, it carried out its first raid from the station on July 28/29. There were no further changes of occupation during hostilities, Nos. 415 and 432 Squadrons continuing on bombing operations until April 25, 1945. No. 415 flew 104 raids from East Moor losing 20 Halifaxes and No. 432 carried out 183 missions losing 10 Lancasters and 47 Halifaxes. Both squadrons were reduced and disbanded during May 1945. Total operational losses from East Moor, including crashes in the UK, amounted to 107 aircraft. Ten were Lancasters, 67 Halifaxes and 30 Wellingtons. No. 54 OTU with Mosquito night fighters came to East Moor in May 1945 and remained for a year before finally moving to Leeming. East Moor was closed to flying in June 1946 and thereafter left to decay. The hangars were sold and removed in the `sixties and most of the domestic site buildings demolished. A decade later the runways were being broken up apart from some sections retained as bases for poultry houses. Agriculture has now reclaimed practically all the airfield, the former technical site being occupied as a gypsy encampment for several years but now replaced by a caravan park and light industrial estate.

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